More millionaires choosing to relocate to Singapore over Hong Kong, says report

People relaxing at the Infinity Pool at Marina Bay Sands.
People relaxing at the Infinity Pool at Marina Bay Sands. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The umbrella protest in Hong Kong may have prompted globe-trotting millionaires to relocate to Singapore instead of the Chinese territory, according to a wealth-tracking report released on Tuesday (Nov 16).

The report by WealthInsight also forecast that millionaires, or high net worth individuals (HNWIs), will grow at a faster rate in Singapore than Hong Kong in the next five years - 18.3 per cent versus 15.6 per cent, respectively. Net wealth is defined as one's assets minus debts or liabilities.

"Though Hong Kong has a much higher millionaire population than Singapore (193,000 against Singapore's 154,000), recent events such as the umbrella revolution may have turned migratory HNWIs away from the city," WealthInsight head Oliver Williams was quoted as saying by CNBC.

According to WealthInsight, 1 in 35 Singaporeans is now a millionaire, with their number increasing by 17 per cent from 130,000 in 2010 to 154,000. They collectively hold US$806.3 billion (S$1.15 trillon) in net wealth.

WealthInsight forecasts Singapore's millionaire population to reach 188,000 in 2020.

"Singapore's burgeoning financial markets, renowned private banking and superior quality of life are continuing to attract HNWIs from neighbouring countries, said Mr Williams. "We're currently seeing a large influx of Indian and Chinese millionaires into the country."

But WealthInsight also noted that Singapore's HNWIs had the lowest average wealth in Asia of US$5.2 million per HNWI, compared to Asia's highest, Indonesia, at US$6.5 million.

"Though seemingly small, the changes in average wealth are hugely reflective of the nation's equality," Mr Williams was quoted as saying by online publication CFO Innovation.

"The lower the average wealth of a country's HNWI population, the more evenly that wealth is distributed among others. Germany, for example, has an average wealth of US$3.2million," he added.

Well-known HNWIs who have relocated to Singapore include US hedge fund billionaire Jim Rogers, Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin and Australia's former coal baron Nathan Tinkler.